PUNE: The inaugural edition of the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) field training military exercise called ‘MILEX-18’ will be organised from September 10 to 16 at the foreign training node at Aundh military station here, in which seven nations will participate.
BIMSTEC includes India, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Myanmar and Thailand. “The theme of the fourth BIMSTEC summit held recently on August 30 and 31 was ‘Towards a peaceful, prosperous and sustainable Bay of Bengal region.’ Amongst the various agendas of the Kathmandu Declaration signed by the member countries the most important one was to call upon various countries to devise a comprehensive strategy to deal with terrorism,” said Southern Army Commander Lt Gen DR Soni to media persons on Thursday.
The MILEX-18 is the outcome of the BIMSTEC summit. “The core theme of the military exercise is to counter terrorism in a semi-urban backdrop. Platoon sized contingents of the national armies of BIMSTEC nations will participate in the week-long training exercise. Five officers and 25 junior commissioned officers plus other ranks of all member countries will be participating less Thailand which will only be sending its observers due to certain prior commitments. The training is being supervised by a joint directing panel comprising senior officials of the national contingents,” he added.
Dr Subhash Bhambre, Minister of State for Defence will witness the validation exercise alongwith the service chiefs on September 16.
In addition to the military exercise, due to the initiative of Chief of the Army Staff, General Bipin Rawat an inaugural ‘Chief’s Conclave’ is also being organised at College of Military Engineering, Kirkee on September 15 under the aegis of Headquarters Southern Command. The chiefs of the Army of the member nations of BIMSTEC will attend the Conclave. G Parthasarathy, former Indian diplomat, will be the moderator for the Chief’s Conclave. The exercise, as well as the Chief’s Conclave, will culminate on September 16 with a glittering closing ceremony at the Aundh Military Station.
Lt Gen Soni said, “The inaugural edition of the BIMSTEC nations’ military exercise and the Chief’s Conclave is aimed at sending a message to the world of the intent of the developing nations of Bay of Bengal region in appreciating the emerging threat of transnational terrorism and the requirement to stand shoulder to shoulder united in countering the menace thereby acting as an example to the rest of the world to contribute to the fight.”
WHAT IS MILEX-18 MILITARY EXERCISE?
The aim of the exercise is to practice joint planning and conduct of counter-terrorist operations in a semi-urban terrain backdrop. It focuses upon training on enhancing team building, special tactical level counterterrorist operations such as cordon and search, search and destroy, handling and neutralisation of Improvised Explosive Devices (IED) etc. The primary focus of the tactical field exercise is to share best practices amongst the militaries of the member nations and hone existing skills of the troops in handling counter-terrorist operations in a transnational scenario. The topics chosen for the exercise are both live and contemporary affecting all nations alike.